Another development has arisen surrounding former Planning Minister Julio de Vido’s involvement in the ongoing Notebook Scandal after the former official’s doorman reported seeing the De Vido removing “three huge safes” just before his apartment building was raided in 2016, during a separate corruption investigation in June of that year.
The Notebook Scandal— which De Vido has found himself at the center of since it first broke— revolves around the discovery of eight notebooks that meticulously record bribe payments from business leaders to public officials in the public works sector during the Néstor and Cristina Kirchner administrations.
While De Vido wasn’t one of the 18 arrested— as he was already in pre-trial arrest at the time for a separate corruption case— he, along with a number of other high-profile figures, was called in to testify before the judge in the ongoing case. During his testimony on August 10th, De Vido fervently denied that he was the head of a widespread web of corruption within the public works sector in his testimony before judge Claudio Bonadio. He also emphatically rejected ever having handled or received “bags” of bribe money, which was one of the allegations leveled against him.
According to De Vido’s doorman, the three safes that the former minister hurriedly removed were the same safes that De Vido had installed shortly after he began working under the Kirchners “about ten years ago”.
The doorman testified before prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan on August 22, stating: “The large (safe) was about two and a half meters high and one and a half meters wide, like the safes the banks have. And the other two safes were smaller. They must have been one meter tall.”
The doorman, who added a number of details that have been verified by investigators, not only reported De Vido, but also the group of 21 custodians who allegedly worked for the former minister in rotating shifts.
“Those who were responsible for bringing the safes are not in custody. It was staff specialized in this subject because they had enormous safety belts … to transport the boxes. Especially the big one. The three safes all went up the stairs”.
The doorman, who was warned before his testimony that he could be prosecuted under the charges of false testimony if he lied at any point, said that the feared for his life and only spoke under the assurances of anonymity. Along with three other doormen, he still works in the same building where some of De Vido’s family continues to live. However, out of the three, he was the only one who took the risk of testifying against De Vido, despite having maintained a cordial relationship with the former Minister of Federal Planning.
During his testimony, the doorman added that plans to remove the safes began after Macri was elected to the presidency, and were sped up before the raid on De Vido’s home: “After Macri won the elections, an entire operation began to remove the safes from Julio de Vido’s home,” he stated. “There were six or seven people who took them down the stairs …the safes were loaded in a light gray Toyota van” he concluded.